Hooded Menace - Effigies of Evil

Posted on Wednesday, October 10, 2012

This Finnish duo play some of the purest Death/Doom I’ve ever had the pleasure of reveling in, and quite frankly I’m ashamed to admit that Effigies of Evil —their debut for Relapse and third album overall— is my first time hearing them. Achieving a frighteningly perfect balance of crawling, colossal Doom and slow to mid-paced Old School Death Metal, the band rely on little more than gut-wrenching heaviness, dismal melodic sensibility, the occasional NWOBHM guitar solo, and the inhumanly brutal low roar of Lasse Pyykko to create a chilling morbid aesthetic that swallows the listener whole. Imagine the first Paradise Lost album on HGH with Dave Rotten on vocals and you’ll be on the right track. The production is immense and crystalline, yet it doesn’t detract from a crushing guitar tone that is part-Sunlight worship, part-Incantation worship, and part-tow truck/cement mixer collision. Pyykko’s earthquake-like vocal pitch makes it a bit difficult to decipher what’s going on lyrically, but judging by their cover art and interviews I’ve read, it’s safe to assume it’s all Tombs of the Blind Dead movie series and EC Comics-inspired good fun. And, as if I weren’t already enjoying the band’s sprawling array of filthy drones, bottomless grooves, breakneck hooks and melodic despondency enough, they also have the decency to sample Vincent Price. God damn, dudes! Seriously, a Vincent Price sample alone is worth 7 points. Not to mention all this power and genius from a two-piece no less! This bestial, misery-drenched assault is the perfect slow-motion soundtrack to a zombie apocalypse, and I simply can’t recommend it enough. If you need me, I’ll be desperately trying to hunt down every iota of the Hooded Menace back catalog. Better late than never.
Favorites: “Curses Scribed in Gore,” “Crumbling Insanity,” “Evoken Vulgarity,” and the title track.

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